The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN baseball clinches sweep over Roadrunners, extends its winning streak to eight

Thomas Bainton, 21, pitches to Cal State Bakersfield’s batter and CSUN Baseball starts the season strong winning the season opener against Cal State Bakersfield 5-3 on Friday, April 26, 2024, at the Matador Field.

CSUN wrapped up its three-game home series with a triumphant sweep over Cal State Bakersfield, extending its winning streak to eight.

Outfielder Will Linberg’s exceptional performance set the pace during Friday’s series opener. He went three for five at the plate, hitting a pivotal RBI triple into the left corner to score two runs and propel the Matadors to a 5-3 victory.

The Matadors (27-14, 14-4 Big West) then defeated the Roadrunners of Bakersfield (11-30, 6-15 Big West) Saturday and Sunday afternoon, clinching the season series 3-0. A critical factor in this victory was pitcher Thomas Bainton’s strong performance in Friday’s game. He allowed only two runs and struck out six batters, demonstrating his skill and determination.

“It was a good team win,” Linberg said. “As the season goes on, we improve as a team and start to know our roles on this team. That’s what helped us in these last stretch of games.”

CSUN’s strategy of focusing on solid pitching and timely hitting proved successful. Despite an early 2-0 lead by the Roadrunners in the first inning, CSUN responded in the third. Linberg and Jakob Simons collected singles, setting the stage for Kevin Fitzer’s sacrifice fly and narrowing the deficit to 2-1.

CSUN tied the game in the fourth inning without a hit, capitalizing on walks and a hit by pitch to the batter’s face, forcing a run. The sixth inning would be where the Matadors finally took the lead with Linberg’s RBI triple, extending their lead, 4-2.

In the next two innings, CSUN scored their last run in the seventh inning when Andrew Sojka delivered a single to left field, bringing Jarren Sanderson home to secure the win. Fitzer returned to the lineup after missing the last six games and finished with one RBI and a hit. Linberg finished with three hits and two runs, extending his on-base streak to 19 games.

Game two on Saturday afternoon featured a much closer and thrilling match. The Matadors would continue to play winning baseball, securing a 5-4 victory over the Roadrunners. Infielder Shunsuke Sakaino was the hero of this game. In the ninth inning, with no outs, Sakaino executed a squeeze play to bring home the winning run.

Sojka and Sanderson each contributed two hits, and Sojka also scored two runs on the offensive side of the ball. Pitcher Ryan Halamicek started Saturday’s game and pitched three shutout innings. CSUN would take control of the game in the second inning, scoring three runs from RBI hits by Ben Griffin and Sakaino. However, even though CSUN took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, the Roadrunners would tie the game 3-3 in the fifth, and the score would remain tied until the seventh when CSUN scored on a balk.

The Matadors held the lead until the ninth inning when CSUB rallied to tie the game. However, Joshua Romero, the closing pitcher, struck out the Roadrunners’ batters to keep the game tied heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. The game ended with the bases loaded. Sakaino singled with a bunt to set up Sojka, who scored from third to secure the win.

“The main takeaway is what we’re doing on offense,” Sojka said. “We know our jobs, and we’re helping each other out. It’s a great sign of team ball.”

The Matadors completed the season sweep against the Roadrunners Sunday afternoon, securing a 3-0 shutout victory. It was CSUN’s eighth straight win, and they’re now in a three-way tie with UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara for first in the Big West.

The Matadors ended their four-game home stretch on Tuesday against San Diego State at 3 p.m. with a 2-0 win. The victory over San Diego gives CSUN nine straight wins and the Matadors will look to push it to 10 with an away series at Hawaii.

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